This Week in Comedy Podcasts: How Chris Albrecht Went From Standup to HBO Exec, Todd Barry, and More
The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. Also, we’ll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Comedy Bang Bang – Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael
JOSH: Fans of abbreviations rejoice! Comedy Bang Bang welcomes two of the very best abbrevers in the game, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, to the show as they discuss their new movie Ass Backwards, June’s attempt to make the flying car reality by 2020, Casey’s unique relationship with water, and, of course, instructional urinating tips for interested female listeners. After the break, Scott is joined by “two-thirds triplets,” Janelle and Jolene Johnson, who drop by the show in hopes of finding their missing butthole baby sister, Janine. Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael have such a fun, effortless rapport with each other that they can make any conversational topic engaging — kidnapping included. The Johnson sisters take a break from their search to play a quick round of “Would You Rather?” as we learn two very important life lessons: If someone tells you it’s their birthday, they’re most likely lying, and if you’re texting an emergency, always use an emoji. The hilarious banter overflows like the shots of amaretto Scott and the Johnson sisters share on yet another entertaining episode of Comedy Bang Bang.
Too Soon – Whitmer Thomas
JOANNA: Tragedy and comedy are separate genres, right? At least that’s what we understood back when we began scribbling sad and happy faces on our composition notebooks depending on what our first crush said to us that day (or was that just me?) But as we all know that opposites attract, and comedy and tragedy are usually seen getting along with each other unexpectedly well. In this week’s captivating episode of Too Soon, host Stephanie Mickus talks to LA comedian Whitmer Thomas about his mother’s dramatic death and how it propelled him into the world of standup. Thomas explains how it wasn’t until he brought his “real” unabashed experiences onstage that he got his first laugh. This fascinating conversation — riddled with stories of disturbing family drama, heroine and human ashes — shows us how real darkness can lead into the lightness of laughter. I guarantee you will get hooked listening to Thomas’s soap opera-like life, his bits and how he balances it all.
Industry Standard with Barry Katz – Chris Albrecht
PABLO: Over the last few decades, manager Barry Katz has represented, at one time or another, some of the biggest names in standup comedy including Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook. Owing to the success of his client Jay Mohr’s podcast, Katz has opened his Rolodex and started his own show to interview a wide range of people, from writers and directors to executives of billion dollar corporations, about how they got started in the world of comedy. This week’s guest is Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who changed television forever during his tenure as Chairman and CEO of HBO. But long before producing The Sopranos and Sex and the City, Albrecht was a struggling standup living in New York City with his roommate Bob Zmuda. Albrecht tells Katz of the many career switches he made, from standup to comedy club manager to ICM agent, before finding his true calling as an HBO executive where he helped produce Zmuda’s annual Comic Relief charity shows. Katz likes to start each episode with a relevant story about his guest and this week’s is a truncated telling of the failed Home Improvement spin-off starring Chappelle and Jim Breuer, an incident that led to Albrecht not speaking to Katz for five years. For a more detailed and even more depressing retelling of the Buddies disaster, be sure to check out episode #6 with writer/producer Matt Williams.
The Todd Barry Podcast – Eddie Pepitone
ROB: For someone known for “breathing fire” on stage and being the angry uncle figure of the comedy world, Eddie Pepitone sure has an easy, infectious, joyful laugh when he’s talking to good friends. Pepitone joins Todd Barry on his podcast this week to talk about his slow climb into sensible adulthood and all of the responsibilities it comes with, like taking sick cats to the vet and making sure he’s getting his frequent flyer miles; all while Barry (of course) interjects with his ripping sarcasm. The two also chat about some “showbiz” stuff like performing at the SoHo Theater in London and auditioning for films, but the best part of the episode involves Pepitone’s story about a run-in he had with a Grand Theft Auto-style driver who damaged several cars and fled the police, and how he may or may not have impeded the ensuing investigation because he couldn’t figure out his iPhone. Barry’s follow-up questions are priceless.
The David Feldman Show – Howie Klein, Dom Irrera, Michael Snyder
MARC: David Feldman is one of the standups who, early on at the dawn of podcasting, turned his attention to the new medium. He’d already segued from peforming political comedy into writing in Hollywood, with a fleet of TV credits to his name including Real Time with Bill Maher, Dennis Miller Live, and The Daily Show. Politics is often found at the core of most epsiode of The David Feldman Show, which has morphed quite a bit since it first started. Originally it was performed live in front of an audience and done in the style of an old radio show, with Feldman playing a version of himself a la Jack Benny surrounded by regular characters and guests. These days, it’s a mixed format that’s usually part one part politics and two parts comedy. This episode has Feldman interviewing Blue America PAC’s Howie Klein, focusing on a pair of overly conservative Democrats spoiling the barrel. That’s followed up by an interview with comedy veteran Dom Irrera talking about life on the road (wherein Irrera reminds us that Feldman spent a year doing his political comedy while dressed in a full-on clown costume). The last segment features film reviewer Michael Snyder running down now fewer than eight current films, alternately (and hilariously) helped and hampered by Feldman, musical sidekick Will Ryan, Jimmy Depetro, and Major General Smedley D. Butler.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
You Had To Be There #114: Lie Lie Lie
This week, Sara and Nikki briefly return to the format of yore by inviting perennial guest Cory Cavin (Awful DJ comedy, Model Wife) to talk about hangovers and listen about periods. In case you’re somehow still guest-hungry, Nikki & Sara Live production manager/breakout star Brian Hoff drops in to explain the guerrilla campaigns he wages against capitalism that are almost as lucrative as they are absurd. And speaking of guests, make sure you watch this week’s Nikki & Sara Live to see your hosts catch their white whale after years of hunting and dreaming and begging.
This week, the boys have a bit of a miscommunication in the scheduling department, and an interview with a popular Hollywood starlet that Tim thinks was going to happen is put in jeopardy. As we wait for the possible arrival of Claire Danes we talk about Tom’s trip to a pet store and Tim’s encounter with a crusty old hippie biker.
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff Rubin, CollegeHumor’s Pat Cassels, and Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Frannich sit down to discuss Breaking Bad’s finale, fifth season, and place among the pantheon of great shows. Full of spoilers, obviously, so don’t listen unless you are caught up!
Joanna Hausmann is a Venezuelan writer/comedian who felt weird writing this in the third person
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA
Robert Schoon lives in the heartland and pays less rent. He also writes about technology and media.
Josh Sorokach is a comedy writer living in NYC who was once referred to as a “Poor Man’s Joshua Jackson” while on a date.